Lorenzo wildcard "important" for Yamaha - Vinales

Lewis Duncan

Yamaha announced earlier in the month that Lorenzo will make his MotoGP race comeback at his home Catalan Grand Prix (currently slated for June), just seven months after he retired from racing following a miserable sole season on the factory Honda.

Lorenzo, who won all three of his MotoGP crowns riding for Yamaha, rejoined the Iwata firm over the winter as its official test rider and rode in last month’s Sepang test.

Speaking to MotoGP.com, Vinales said he feels Lorenzo will be able to test items more effectively as it’s typically harder for the race riders to offer feedback during post-race test outings – of which there will be one in Barcelona – due to the abundance of grip on track. 

“I think it’s important for Yamaha [for Lorenzo to wildcard at Barcelona] because they can try many things during the race [weekend],” Vinales said. 

“Sometimes when we test things, the mistake is that on Monday there is a lot of grip on the track because all the Michelin rubber is there [from the race]. So, the laptimes are very fast, [there is] always fantastic grip. So, it’s difficult to test new parts. 

“I think for Yamaha it’s very important with Jorge – not even at Montmelo – if they can make more wildcards. [It] will be really good because they can test new items, many things, really prove that it’s working well on a race weekend.”

Vinales aiming to use extra time productively

The enforced two-month delay to the start of the new season due to the coronavirus pandemic has offered riders added preparation time for the 2020 campaign.

Vinales says he is remaining “quite calm” through the current situation, adding that he is out on a bike as much as he can in order to improve his riding and braking style for when he jumps back on his M1.

“We are trying to be on the bike the most days I can, because it’s very important to keep riding, to keep that intensity we bring from the pre-season,” he said.

“We are training with motocross, we are training on the Supermoto, we are training on the race track – not with the M1, a different bike, but we can try to improve a few things that then I can do on the M1. 

“We need to improve the riding style still. I think we are not at the best right now, so there is a point where I have to improve. Also a little bit the braking area, I have to be stronger. 

"I think in this month I can make another step on the riding style and I think I can ride much better the Yamaha. So, for us it was very important to keep riding on a bike, so that’s the plan. We can’t wait to be on the M1 and race, because we prepared everything this year very good.”